Sunday, September 04, 2005

Anything that can go wrong...

I have discovered yet another way for a date to go wrong. It did involve politics, of a sort. I know that if you count the discussions about Israel, this isn't new. But this wasn't about Israel. It was a debate about drug policy.

It started with an offhand comment I made, which was based on a couple of articles I read a while ago over at My comment was in response to something Scott said about methamphetamine, which he meant as a joke. (Tangent: if you still believe the myth of the "crack baby" read this.)

I cannot express how much I dislike political debate. I don't mind discussing things but I don't want to fight about politics. I will defend my opinions. I will listen to you. I may even change or modify my position. But I don't enjoy it and I don't want to do it on a date.

Let me go back to the beginning. As soon as I saw him I knew it wasn't on. He was not scary looking or ugly, but I did not find him attractive. He had no neck and puffy squirrel cheeks. He also had sunken, lifeless eyes. Maybe he was a little scary looking. He also had a short goatee that enhanced the puffiness of the cheeks. There is no doubt he lied about his height (I don't care about your height, but please don't insult me). If he was 5"9', then I'm 6 feet tall (I'm not). However, he was solidly built and had one of the body types I like. It was his face and the complete lack of a neck that left me cold.

Over lunch, we bonded over a shared love of The Who and other teenage musical obsessions. I've said it before, but tastes are pretty meaningless in terms of whether or not you are suited. It's great to have common tastes and be able to enjoy things together, but shared tastes are not the same as shared values and cannot predict the success of a relationship. The requirement regarding tastes is that you have some. If you don't ever pick anything, it's a drag. It's also a good idea not to denigrate your partner's taste--take it as an opportunity to explore things outside your comfort zone, you can learn something.

Even though he didn't pass the attraction test (he did not pass the kiss test), I allowed that he might grow on me or that we could be friends. We did have a decent rapport, and with all those common interests, maybe we could do stuff together. But I had given up on romance by the end of the first hour.

We took a stroll around the neighborhood (Eastern Market) and apropos of something, he made a reference to meth addicts and bugs under the skin. I said that it was a myth. He told me I was wrong. I said I was talking about how this kind of story is always overblown, but that I didn't really know what he was talking about. (It turns out he was right--this kind of reaction is called "punding"; no actual bugs are involved.)

He seemed shocked by my view that drugs are not the root of much evil. I said the crack epidemic was mostly not real. There was a discussion of the connection between drugs crime and poverty. He said it was a cyclical thing and getting rid of the drugs would help. I said we got rid of crack and we still have crime and poverty. I said the causal arrow goes poverty, crime, drugs, not drugs, crime, poverty. We went around and around. I'm not saying he didn't have some good points, but he really wanted to fight. He stopped in his tracks three or four times so he could forcefully make his points.

That's right, we were walking along, arguing, and he would stop walking and I would have to stop walking so he could talk right into my face. So annoying.

When he started to lecture me, I almost lost it. I had that little flash of temper which makes me want to say "Fuck You" and walk away. I haven't had that flash for a while, but he managed to make me feel patronized, which will do it. I kept my temper under control and I did not raise my voice or walk away from him. I told him when I disagreed with him. I explained myself. It was exhausting.

He paused to look at something and then tried to reintroduce the argument by asking if I'd seen some statistics on blah-blah-who-knows-what and I cut him off, "We really need to change the subject. I can't talk about this anymore. It's not my area of expertise--I don't know any of the statistics." Mercifully he dropped it. I committed the cardinal sin of subject changing in that I didn't introduce a new topic, but you know what? Too fucking bad. I was sooo done. Done. It was then just a question of getting away.

We continued strolling. He used to live in the neighborhood and we talked about places he used to habit, one of which was a greasy spoon called "Sherrill's" (long gone). I had been there a few times, but I hated it. I told him a story about the first time I went there. I'd had too much to drink the night before and the waitress and the cook had a screaming fight in the back of the restaurant. It made me feel ill and I had to leave. He said, "You fight fair but you don't like to fight."

I thought, 'How does he know that?' Then I realized he was quoting my profile. "I hope you didn't memorize my profile."

He said, "I read it..."

I said, "I didn't memorize yours! Well, it's a great line, that's all." He was uncharacteristically silent. Did he perhaps just realize that he'd spent a third of the date fighting with someone who doesn't like to fight?

He said, "So now what?"

"I'm ready to call it day." He offered me a ride, but I said, "I prefer to walk. It's not far. Walking is my main form of exercise, so when I have a chance to walk on the weekend, I take it." We shook hands and went our separate ways.

I'd had some very well modulated hopes before meeting him. I expected him to be balding and non-skinny (I prefer non-skinny)--and that was fine. But I didn't expect to be completely unattracted to him. It wasn't his looks, though they weren't winning. It was his snide attitude. It was the way he made me feel like he was disagreeing with me, but would turn out to be agreeing with me. He was just waiting to authoritatively fill in any blanks I left in my story.

And that fight--that "discussion." He couldn't just listen to me and say, "I haven't thought about it like that" or "I don't completely agree." He had to pummel me with facts and try and prove over and over again that I was wrong. He couldn't just allow me my views. I had to be wrong. Then again, I think I might have started it. I didn't mean to start it. I had no idea he would react that way. Eh, I didn't start it. He's a loon. He's a lawyer who likes to argue. Never thought I'd meet one a 'dem.

After we parted, I bought a coffee and a cookie and walked to a park near my house. I lay down in the sun, put on my headphones and closed my eyes for about half an hour. I wanted to be hot. I wanted to feel the sun on my face. I wanted to never think about dating again.

I had to laugh at Neil's suggestion that I take a "spa day." I am so not that person. The guilt for spending that much money for something "frivolous" would kill the enjoyment--but I think an hour enjoying the sun in the park was close enough.

The JDate© subscription expires in three days and will not be renewed.

Grateful for: freedom.

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